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Making a Trapdoor

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Alib8, Apr 12, 2015.

  1. Alib8


    Aug 16, 2014
    Hi everyone, I want to make a trapdoor on the bass side c-bout, like this: Trapdoor For Upright Bass Photos by nyctigerintx | Photobucket

    It is a cheap plywood bass, to prevent rattling I am thinking about using cloth around the edges of the door and magnets glued to both sides to hold it while closed.

    My question is, would this make the bass structurally unstable, would it crack or break apart under tension?
  2. Normally an access port is to assist in moving the soundpost, and therefore logically would be made on the treble side. Your link shows work being done on both sides of the bass. I think the first thing is to decide where you want that trapdoor to go.
  3. Alib8


    Aug 16, 2014
    Searched for access port, found this thread now if anyone else comes here: Access port questions | TalkBass.com

    I also got in contact with the person who did the door I linked in the first post, he is using his bass without a problem. I am going ahead and doing it this week.
  4. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    That was an amazing bit of work!
    Jake deVilliers and DC Bass like this.
  6. robobass


    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    Like everything else, if done well... Do you plan to remove the top or back? This seems like a job you would really want to have the bass open for, so should coincide with other major work. Mr. Condino, one of our resident experts, has experience with this. I'm sure he'll chime in soon.
  7. rickwolff

    rickwolff Certified Gear Junkie, Amateur Adjunct Professor Supporting Member

    Why settle for just a trapdoor when you could do this:

    Double Bass Storage Cabinet.
    ed morgan and james condino like this.
  8. robobass


    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    Nah. A beer keg or nothing!
    rickwolff likes this.
  9. rickwolff

    rickwolff Certified Gear Junkie, Amateur Adjunct Professor Supporting Member

    Robo, I was actually looking for a cartoon I saw years ago in which the double bassist opened a door in the back of his bass and had a bar set up there. Very cool, but I couldn't find it. I like your beer keg idea, though.
  10. robobass


    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    My first teacher told me a story about a guy who actually did this. A big band club date player whose leader wouldn't let his players drink on the gig. I've no idea if this is a true story.
  11. rickwolff

    rickwolff Certified Gear Junkie, Amateur Adjunct Professor Supporting Member

    A flask in the pocket is no doubt easier but how impressive would it be to open the door on the back of your bass to expose an ice bucket and a martini shaker.

    OK, sorry for the silly derail everyone. Now back to your regularly scheduled program.
  12. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    Mr. Condino...is my dad on Talkbass or do I need to report to the principle's office?????

    The only time I have ever heard complaints about an access panel or trapdoor in a bass was from people who don't own one and who have never had any experience with one and are so grumpy and crusty that if one was sitting right in front of them, they would not be open to the idea. Having gigged with one for approx. 6 years now, I love mine and I don't think I'd ever not include that feature in a bass I built for myself, for 100 reasons. I think it is safe to say that anyone who works on basses over the last 300 years has had endless frustrations playing the ship in a bottle game trying to work on them through the tiny soundhole, or worse, the endpin hole. Access panels are a repair person's dream, opening up tremendous options and changing jobs like cracks and cleats from involved and expensive work to a 20 minute job with NO top removal and I will confidently say that I can set a soundpost 10 times better that I can through the F hole; with an unexpected bonus that almost every gig I make a few soundpost changes to tweek the bass to the room I'm playing in- I never expected it to be that handy.

    Matthew's is probably one of the nicest designs I've seen and I am basically using that same setup in any that I do now; easy to say after having him work out the details; Thanks M. The first one I did, I was a little unsure of it, so I made up a backup matching uncut C bout so I could replace it if needed. I've never once thought it was a bad idea and almost every time I take that bass out on a gig I'm reminded of how useful a feature it is with no discernable downside. There was a bass on ebay a few months back that was attributed to me but the whole story never got told. The bass arrived with a very crude, almost jagged giant hole in the back. I had a same year and color bass back in the graveyard that I used to cutout a reasonable cover and built it up to make the bass functional; more damage control cleaning up someone else's mess than an intended design.

    I'll also admit that I've used the access port on more than one occasion as a bit of gig humor and midway though an overly long not so great guitar solo I've put the bass down, opened the port, pulled out a rubber chicken and a few beers and passed them out to the rest of the band and audience.....

    Whatever you do to your bass, think it out well, consider all of the outcomes and options, and then always do the best job you can. Good luck!

    Last edited: May 14, 2015
  13. I have heard stories about a Vaudeville act that involved a chicken and a bass with a trap door. This sounds even better! A round of beers for the band. Fantastic!
  14. Alib8


    Aug 16, 2014
    I cut a hole and made a door, installed a second sound post, done a couple of gigs with it. Everything seems stable, no issues.

  15. rolandm

    rolandm In search of the lowest note.

    Aug 8, 2010
    Peoria, IL
    Thank God for the trapdoor on my Chadwick (and for the awesome assistance Charlie has provided me). My bass arrived with the trapdoor bracing a bit blown out on the soundpost side. Mr. Chadwick said it was likely due to a lighter structural strength of the old cases these basses came with, and the excess weight of whatever hit it, or was on top of it, caused it to bulge out on there. So with Charlie's suggestions and guidance, I repaired that, and then re-attached the bass bar with (yes, Mr. Condino, with good old hide glue), and attached linen patches over the bass bar tips, as well as reinforcing the edge of the bracing north and south of the soundbar with linen patches. I figured it couldn't hurt.

    None of those repairs would have been possible for me without that big old trap door in the back.
  16. Yeah brilliant work from mathew there!

    That's my cleveland and i'm happy with it!
    Matthew Tucker and KUNGfuSHERIFF like this.

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